Merrill Edge: What you need to know
Merrill Edge’s stock trading platform is impressive. It’s more impressive than TD Ameritrade and E*Trade and it is far more daunting as a result. This is a website that believes in giving you as much information as possible until you are likely suffering from overload. This is an absolutely brilliant place to start if you’re a beginner with investment on your mind though – the detail and the variety are excellent. However, the detail could be a bit easier to digest – perhaps Merrill Edge could take some lessons from TD Ameritrade’s quizzes and slideshows – and can be a tad overwhelming. Overall, though, Merrill Edge brings a plethora of investment products to the table and has the Bank of America stamp of approval.
Merrill Edge: Tools and services
- Free access to all trading platforms
- Multiple ways to invest
Merrill Edge may have the busiest website on the investment planet, but it also has some really cool investment options and services. They offer multiple ways to invest that include the Merrill Edge Self-Directed plan, Merrill Guided Investing, and advisor-led investment. You also have the choice of starting out with their simplified investment options that include Merrill Edge Select Funds, Merrill Edge Select ETFs, and the BofAML US 1 List.
The Merrill Edge investment tools include a mobile investment app and Merrill Edge MarketPro. The former is available on both the App Store and Google Play and has some really nifty features. The ones that stand out - heat maps and interactive charts - are relatively new but both offer a lot of scope for improving your investment skills and understanding the market. The customizable dashboard is also a nice extra so you can more easily manage your trades and your investments. Plus, if you already bank with Bank of America, you can manage your accounts from the app as well. Merrill Edge MarketPro gives you real time market analysis and access, streaming and interactive charting, and a fully customizable dashboard.
Merrill Edge: Trading options and Forex
- Plenty of investment options
- Reliable service and platform
Account minimum amount: None
Commission fee: None
Account fees: A variety of different fees apply to different options and use cases
Investment products: Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Fixed Income and Bonds, Options, Margin, BofAML US 1 List, managed portfolios
While the pricing can be a little confusing at first, most of the Merrill Edge investment products are competitively priced. A stand out feature on the site is their comparative chart that puts every option into a single table along with pricing, value and benefits. A nice touch is the column dedicated to who would best benefit from that particular investment choice and what they can potentially expect to get from it. While Merrill Edge doesn’t offer Forex trading options, the managed portfolios and simplified investment solutions are a great touch.
Beginners will appreciate the starter funds and systems that give them some flexibility without feeling that they’re undertaking too much risk. Experienced investors will appreciate the connections to the Bank of America and the advanced portfolio options. All investors will appreciate the free trading, the quality research, the investment variety, and the low-cost investment plans.
Merrill Edge: Research, education and customer support
- Customer support at Bank of America
- One of the best for customer reviews
Merrill Edge is a firm favorite among the stock broker platforms not only because it has so much variety and a good foundation, but because it offers customers so much support. Want to work with someone face to face? No problem, just engage with an advisor at one of the Bank of America outlets. Want to research and read for yourself? This is one website that believes in throwing as much information at you as possible. It’s a great starting point for people who are nervous about throwing their money into investments but also don’t want to be left behind when it comes to growing their financial future.
The Consumer Affairs reviews for Merrill Edge are also among the best. The company gets an impressive three-star rating – impressive compared with some of its competitors at only one star, at least – with many customers praising its professionalism and expertise. While this is hardly a glowing testament, it is better than many other services, and it is rare to get a high rating from customers in the financial services sector.
Merrill Edge: Verdict
Merrill Edge leads the way in terms of customer sentiment and backs this up with a solid offering that stands out in a crowded market. It doesn’t have as much variety as some of its competitors when it comes to investment products, but it has customized them to appeal to specific markets and types of investor. The Bank of America relationship certainly doesn’t hurt Merrill Edge, especially since existing customers can use a single app to manage all of their accounts. This makes it a very accessible and seamless step for existing customers or those looking to consolidate their portfolios.